Patients with complex conditions usually see more than one physician and undergo multiple lab tests and procedures. When those patients have a medical home, their care can be better coordinated by their primary care physician. The medical home model provides a central point of care, from which decisions are made and healthcare is provided that is truly coordinated and of the highest quality.
Research has shown that patients with complex conditions, in particular, realize reduced costs and improved results when their care is provided by the medical home model. Whether patients have complex or simple conditions, knowing that their care is provided and coordinated by a single primary care physician can alleviate concern about miscommunication and duplication.
The medical home model, as defined by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC), is “best described as a model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety.” In the medical home model, the patient-provider relationship is of utmost importance, as the primary care provider works with the patient as well as with the patient’s family, to determine the most appropriate and acceptable plan of care.
The PCPCC describes the medical home model as:
- Patient-centered: Decisions regarding care take into consideration the needs and desires of the patients and their family, in addition to the professional knowledge and expertise of the primary care physicians. Patients are encouraged to engage in their own healthcare by taking part in the decisions.
- Comprehensive: In the medical home model, care is provided for all healthcare needs, from prevention and wellness to care for acute and chronic conditions.
- Coordinated: The primary care physician collaborates with specialty providers, labs, healthcare facilities, and other providers to ensure the patient’s care is properly coordinated.
- Accessible: Engaging patients in their own healthcare decisions necessitates enabling their access to their medical information. Electronic health records (EHRs) play a significant role in accessibility for patients, particularly when a communication piece is available to them.
- Committed to quality and safety: Informed decisions, based on patient input and coordination with multiple providers enables the primary care physician to provide high quality, safe healthcare for improved outcomes.